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Published: Tuesday, 4/3/2001

That Maumee walleye was this big ... April Fool

A 22-pound, 8-ounce walleye, you say. A new Ohio record. From the Maumee River on Sunday. No foolin'?

Yes foolin'. April Fool's Day foolin'. Gary Lowry may never quite live it down.

Lowry, who owns Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle in Maumee, thought he would perk up anglers' eyes and ears a mite by posting a tale - along with a doctored walleye photo - on his Maumee River update site on the Web, maumeetackle.tripod.com. Quite a few fishermen took the bait.

By Sunday night e-mails were flying and phones were ringing. Lowry was forced to add some fine print at the bottom of his ruse that it was an April Fool's joke. “A lot of people were believing it,” said Jan Lowry, the shopkeeper's partner and spouse.

The record Ohio walleye thus remains at 16.19 pounds, taken from Lake Erie in 1999. No foolin'.

That said, some large walleye have been taken in the Maumee, and the western Lake Erie jig-and-minnow season for walleye in near-shore areas has gotten under way.

Vince Lamberjack of Lamberjack's Marina on Turtle Creek, near Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant, said that anglers are taking four-fish limits in just a couple of hours in 13 to 14 feet of water. He added that a jigging spoon called a Redtail Shiner, tipped with minnows, has been effective.

John Lesniewicz, of Teal Point Lodge, east of Davis-Besse, said that even 10-foot depths and shallows over the reefs are producing walleye. Maumee Bay is starting to produce some fish as well, according to Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road.

On the Maumee, better fishing is being seen mornings and evenings, said Jan Lowry. Floating jigheads on 1/4 to 3/8–ounce Carolina rigs are popular, along with smaller leadhead jigs and tails. Anglers are reporting good success using high-contrast combinations of head and tail, such as yellow/fire tiger or pink/chartreuse.

Two of the bigger fish reported recently were a 28-inch 12-pounder, taken by Gary Holland of Waterville, and an 11-pound, 12-ounce fish taken by Loran Addy of Toledo. It was Addy's fish, enhanced by Lowry on his computer, that caused the April Fool's Day stir.

Rich Cherry, ranger at Side Cut Metropark, rated Maumee River fishing as fair to good, with more limits seen Friday and Saturday than other recent days. The holes and eddies below Fallen Timbers and at Buttonwood Access seemed to be holding fish the best under current flow conditions, the ranger added.

Action on the Sandusky River at Fremont slowed somewhat by Sunday after three to five good days below Walsh and Rodger Young parks just above the downtown area, said Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply.

River fishing should peak in the next two weeks if a predicted warming trend continues and if enough rain falls to maintain good stream flows.

DATEBOOK

Today: Trail Partner volunteer training, 4:15-6:45 p.m., Wildwood Preserve Metropark, Metroparks Hall, learning to assist people with disabilities, presented with University of Toledo recreation-education department; also, Friday, program on singing frogs and dancing woodcocks, 8 p.m., Secor Metropark Discovery Center; also, Saturday, spring cleanup for helping hands, 9 a.m. to noon, Wildwood, Metroparks Hall, call for reservations, 535-3057 extension 101; also, Saturday, bird basics, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Secor Park Discovery Center, also, Saturday, twilight hike into prairie and savanna areas, 7-8:30 p.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Pine Ridge Area; also, Sunday, full moon walk, 8 p.m., two sites: Oak Openings, Mallard Lake Area, and Pearson Metropark, Packer-Hammersmith Center; call for reservations for Pearson, 535-3058 extension 101.

Tomorrow: Highway cleanup in front of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, 6 p.m., sponsored by Black Swamp Bird Observatory, volunteers welcome; join Steve Pollick, the Ditch Pig King, and his BSBO friends in litter collection along State Rt. 2; meet at Crane Creek State Park parking lot, just off Route 2; call BSBO, 419-898-4674.

Thursday: Friends of Side Cut Metropark, fishing workshop, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 200 East Broadway, Maumee, 7 p.m.; guest presenter, Gary Lowry, Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle; call Alaina Meister, 897-8663.

Thursday: Safe-boating course, 7 p.m., Eleanor Kahle Senior Center, 1315 Hillcrest Ave., five successive weeks, call the sponsor, Toledo Power Squadron, 470-2710.

Thursday: Trapshoot, 6 p.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg.

Saturday: Maumee Valley Chapter, Ducks Unlimited, annual fund-raising dinner, Glass City Boardwalk, East Broadway, Moline; doors open 5 p.m., dinner 7 p.m., followed by raffles and auctions; past DU sponsor artists and state duck-stamp artists, Harold Roe of Sylvania and Greg Clair of Bowling Green, plus current DU sponsor artist Tim Donovan from Virginia, will be on hand; for details and tickets call Kevin Goodman, 419-352-6906.

Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at spollick@theblade.com.



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